How to prepare for Bank PO

What is the minimum score you need?

First, you need to figure out what prelims, main & interview scores would be ideal for you to secure a coveted seat. You have cut-off data available for different categories from multiple sources. Following is the tentative cut-off for you to go through. But keep in mind that basis the number of seats, cut-offs will vary. More seats, lower the cut-off!

Prelims Cut Off

CategoryPrelims Cut Off Marks: Overall (Maximum Marks 100)
SubjectsEnglishQuantitative AptitudeReasoning Ability
Maximum Score303535
UR/ EWS1099

Mains Cut Off

CategoryMains Cut Off (Maximum Marks 225)
SubjectsMaximum MarksCut Off (SC/ ST/ OBC/ PWD)Cut Off (General/ EWS)
Reasoning & Computer aptitude6057
English language401013
Data analysis & Interpretation6079
General, economy & banking awareness4024
English language (descriptive)25910

Total Cut Off

CategoryCut Off Marks (Maximum Marks 100)

When should I start preparing?

Every student will have a different starting point. Students coming from engineering backgrounds will have the upper hand in quant. Some students with good reading habits will find verbal comparatively easy. 

You should try any previous exam paper (you can find it easily on google search) under strict exam conditions and figure out your possible score. If there is a huge gap between your score and the required cut-off, you will need 6 – 12 months of preparation. If you are doing average and need moderate improvement, 3-6 months should be fine. And if you are very close to cut off, then you should still keep somewhere around three months in your hand. You can also use Learntheta to help you assess your current level for Quant.

Also, please see if you have other commitments on hand, like your regular job or your degree classes. With added commitments, you should consider three months extra for your preparation. But even with other commitments, you should give 5 hours of seating to Bank PO preparation daily. There is no one-fit formula here, and you would need to figure out what works best for you. Of course, the sooner you start & more time you give every day, the better your chances are.

Preparation strategy

Once you know where you stand, breaking down your schedule until D-day is recommended. Go through the entire syllabus, and break down what portion you will cover in which week or month. It’s recommended to give 30% of your time to Quant, 20% to English, 25% to Reasoning & 25% to GK & current affairs every week. Some students start very slow with few subjects and are left with no time for remaining subjects towards the end. So it is better to balance your preparation time within a week’s frame. Now you might choose to do Quant one whole day or just a few hours every day, that choice is yours. 

You will also need to join some mock test series and fit that into your schedule. Figure out coaching, online videos, and books for study, whichever suits your style but make sure you have enough time commitment for this.

One study session should be somewhere between 1 to 2 hours. This will also prepare you for long sitting on exam day.

Another point to keep in mind is to appear for every possible exam without a bias of how many seats are being filled or what will be the cut-off. There is nothing to lose if you give an extra exam, but the more exams you appear for better your chances of conversion.

If you are preparing to secure a seat, your focus should be on Mains and not on Pre. If you are prepared well for Mains, you will easily qualify for Pre.

How to prepare for English Language

Most students have a big misconception that only students with exceptional English skills can do well in this paper. Bank PO is just trying to test your communication & comprehension skills through this section. If you are doing a regular reading a few months before the exam and practising enough Qs, you will get through this section easily irrespective of your background.

For preparation, just develop the habit of reading something. Read fiction or nonfiction, whatever you like, and then gradually start reading other genres. If you have never read a book, start with smaller books of interest or those you always thought you would read one day. You can also start reading newspapers slowly. This will not only help with the English section but will also help you build current affairs, General Knowledge & even the interview.

As a preparation strategy, you need to do a lot of practice and try to analyse your wrong attempts in depth. If you don’t know the root cause of your wrong attempts, you will not be able to improve. 

How to prepare for Reasoning

For Reasoning, no matter how well prepared you are, you need to be very selective about your attempt. One wrong selection, and you may spend 40 minutes solving just one problem. For this section, partial solving is useless. So, select a question you can solve completely and attempt all parts of it correctly.

How to prepare for Data Analysis & Interpretation

Data analysis & Interpretation on the other hand, is relatively more predictable. Though it could be lengthy, there are more chances of solving it correctly if you are good with basic calculations and graph reading. As a practice strategy, focus on improving your mental calculations, graph visualisation and approximations. There is no harm in solving by writing it down till you pick up your mental calculation abilities.

How to prepare for Quant

A terror for many students, especially if you are from non-engineering background. For this section, you must be extremely diligent in grasping concepts while studying the chapter and practice a lot to get a good grasp of it in your subconscious. It is common to feel like you have understood the concept, but one tweak in the question and students struggle to figure out where to start. Please refrain from chasing tricks and shortcuts. Even if you solve from basics using first principles, you can solve all the questions as long as your concepts are crystal clear. If you use tricks without a solid grasp on the concepts, you will be just piling up negative marks. Also, try to analyse which chapters are your strength and which ones you struggle with so that you know which question to attempt first and which one towards the end.

The approach is to build your conceptual understanding and start with easy questions. Gradually, start practising tougher questions and build your confidence. If you are unclear on any steps of any problem, you must be very thorough with the underlying concept. Otherwise, a different twisted problem will bite your back in the exam. Additionally, practice mental calculations when free and for fun. For quant, you should also sign up for learntheta’s adaptive platform to update you on real-time preparation levels.

For this section, correct attempts is much more important than no of attempts

How to take maximum benefits from mocks

Mocks are your only way to simulate exam situations. We suggest you do mocks in classrooms and not in the comfort of your home. Small things like uneasy keyboards, different monitors, uncomfortable chairs, commotion from students, technical errors, and no washroom break are part of your exam simulation environment and can not be replicated at home.

Secondly, you will never be fully prepared for the exam. So attempt each mock as if this is your real attempt, irrespective of how much you have prepared. Your goal is to maximise the marks in the mocks. Your real attempt scenario will not be very different from mocks if you have taken your mocks religiously.

Your target should be to improve your accuracy and attempts in every mock irrespective of where you stand currently. Once your mock solutions are out, try to analyse where you have gone wrong in the mocks and how you can improve on them. If you are making too many wrong attempts in Number System, your outcome is to practice more Number system questions in your free time. Or you should be attempting Number system questions towards the end. Also, the recommendation is not to take too many mocks. One mock every 2-4 weeks is more than enough. The idea of a mock is to understand your performance and improve on the gaps. If you just keep giving mocks without doing anything substantial between the two mocks, there is no way you will improve in the next mock.

There is only one purpose to be considered while attempting your mocks: maximise your marks. Everything else is a distraction. Don’t take it on your ego if you get stuck in the questions. Every question carries equal weight. If you want to solve tough questions, do it after your mock in your free time. Right now, you just need more marks. If you mark more than 20% of answers wrong, you must slow down in your subsequent mocks. If your accuracy is improved, you improve your attempts gradually. The whole idea of mock is to go through this journey.

Please note that mock tests and actual exam will still have some variations. Elements of surprises, preparation differences, different student groups, lot of factors come into the picture. So, do not take your mock results with too much heart.

A month before Bank PO exam

Please make a habit of attempting the mock or studying in the same time slots as your exam slot. This will train your brain to be most functional in that duration by aligning your body clock. Proper sleep, food and exercise is the only way to keep yourself healthy during this crucial time of the year. It is not unheard of the students to fall sick because of stress or other unhealthy habits just at the last moment.

Exam Day tips

You should know where exactly is your centre. It is a good habit to check it a day in advance to avoid any surprises of map location, traffic, etc. Please do not stress yourself with last-minute preparation. Try to do the best of your attempt based on whatever you have absorbed so far. You have practised enough; nothing can go wrong if you keep your cool. So just relax and do your best. 

Do not try anything new on exam day. Eat light food, and park the junk for post-exam days. Sleep on time, as exam anxiety is a common issue.

In addition, be prepared for surprises. Your system is loading slowly, the keyboard button is hard to type, and some kid is playing near the window, disturbing everyone. Exam centres can suck, but you have prepared for this day during your mocks. And worst of all, you can see some unfamiliar questions in the exam. But remember, it will be tough for everyone if it is tough for you.

If you have read this far, you are already serious about your preparation. All the best from Learntheta. We are here to help you with all your quant needs

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